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Torah in the MouthWriting and Oral Tradition in Palestinian Judaism, 200 BCE - 400 CE$
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Martin S. Jaffee

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195140672.001.0001

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Torah in the Mouth in Galilean Discipleship Communities

Torah in the Mouth in Galilean Discipleship Communities

(p.126) 7 Torah in the Mouth in Galilean Discipleship Communities
Torah in the Mouth

Martin S. Jaffee (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Explores the connection between the presence of written versions of rabbinic tradition and the emergence among Galilean sages of the third century c.e. of an explicit ideological claim that the entire rabbinic tradition originated in Sinaitic revelation to Moses as unwritten Torah in the Mouth. Of great comparative interest is the Greco‐Roman tradition of rhetorical education, represented in the tradition of rhetorical textbooks (Progymnasmata), which prized memorization of written texts for exclusively oral performances that included rule‐governed transformations and revisions of texts in the performative setting. The chapter examines Amoraic traditions of Byzantine Galilee (the Palestinian Talmud, Midrash Tanhuma, Midrash Pesiqta Rabbati) for evidence that they were mastered from written versions and intentionally revised in performative settings. From this comparative perspective, the chapter concludes that the rabbinic conception of Torah in the Mouth is designed to legitimate the authority of the sage in the setting of discipleship training.

Keywords:   Amoraic traditions, authority of the rabbinic sage, Byzantine Galilee, discipleship training, Greco‐Roman rhetoric, Midrash Pesiqta Rabbati, Midrash Tanhuma, Palestinian Talmud, Progymnasmata, rabbinic

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